The Age - Good Food

Friends pool their talents for An Uong Eat. Drink. Vietnam. in Richmond

Richard Nguyen, Le Nhat and Zico Lu, three friends each from different Vietnamese regions, have pooled their collective heritage and experience to open An Uong Eat. Drink. Vietnam. in Richmond.

Nestled among Bridge Road's eateries, An Uong ("eat, drink" in Vietnamese) is a narrow space dominated by a bar-flanked open kitchen and splashed with lively colour pops and playful neon hints, where lunch means individual bowls (vermicelli/rice/soup) for time-poor diners, and dinner is designed for lingering.

Head chef Lu honed his skills at Grossi Florentino, Donovan's and Sydney's Quay before returning to his heritage, and that of his partners. His training evident in dishes like a beetroot and duck salad that substitutes fresh duck blood for gelatin-infused beetroot juice (scoop it straight from the bowl with a rice cracker for optimum crunch) or spiced turmeric squid that's finished over a konro grill.

For mains there's Lu's mum's tender caramelised pork belly in coconut juice with a soft boiled free-range egg and to finish, Vietnamese creme caramel with burnt dried figs.

The single-page drinks list offers locally sourced red and whites (eight by the glass), a handful of beers including Bia Hanoi, and Vietnamese-inspired cocktails such as a lemongrass mojito.